We are in a more intricate political conundrum today than at any other time in our history post-independence. Our future lies in the mist of political confusion, making it difficult to determine.
By Tapiwa Gomo
It does not help that our political discourse has been long arrested within Zanu PF narratives and its oppositional offshoots.
Our failure to achieve real freedom is not for its improbability, but simply because our search for it has always been ensnared within the confines set up by Zanu PF itself.
We continue to search for freedom within the corridors set up by Zanu PF with the hope that one day it will yield a different result.
Most of the narratives that inform our politics today come off the Zanu PF script of autocracy. Factionalism and succession in Zanu PF and the arrogance that characterises coalitions and alliances in opposition politics are all anchored on Zanu PF politics.
Both camps lack clarity on who should take over. That is proof that Zanu PF holds fort the discourse of politics in the country.
In the past few months we have experienced an immature and inconclusive metamorphosis of alliances and coalitions of opposition parties and we are still counting. This has mirrored the Zanu PF gravy train which shifted from former Vice-President Joice Mujuru as a preferred successor to the current Lacoste and G40 drama. Only one centre of power endures.
This has prompted discussions on social media on what Zimbabweans really want, because we don’t seem to have settled for one leader or party to determine their future.
A good friend of mine, Tinevimbo Muzezewa asked what Zimbabweans really want, as they are not satisfied with any one of those on the political scene. They don’t want the current establishment for obvious reasons, that MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai is seen as another dictator in the making, Mujuru is a chip from the old establishment, while Nkosana Moyo is seen as a musalad (elitist) who does not appeal to the rural voter.
These are justifiable voices of discontent which anyone in politics needs to pay attention to, but sadly these views are being quashed by some armchair analysts who are urging the opposition to ignore criticism. They forget that this is another effective way of manufacturing dictators before they assume power. Uniting to defeat Zanu PF should not be used as an excuse to evade public scrutiny and criticism, as doing so amounts to setting up a platform for the next autocracy.
All we want is very simple. If at all possible, all the current political faces in both Zanu PF and opposition and their parties must vacate the scene and allow a new generation of leaders to take over. All of them are reasons we are where we are today. They have all failed the people.
There will not be any void. We have plenty of capable talent ready to take the country to greater heights. In any case, even if Zanu PF crumbles today, it is not the current opposition that may take over, as they do not have that sense of organisation to do so.
The argument that the opposition has contributed to the weakening and likely demise of the ruling party held currency somewhere in 1999 to 2002, where both civil society organisations and opposition parties grew in strength, relevance and appeal to the people.
Irrelevant as it has become today, such an argument misses the simple fact that, this was the same period Zanu PF lost the popular vote and stopped relying on it as a means of staying in power after realising that the people had shifted to the opposition.
In a functioning democracy, popular vote must be the epitome of democracy and staying in power without it creates a deficit of legitimacy and equals to autocracy.
After the 2002 presidential elections, Zanu PF realised that they had lost the popular vote, which is the currency to power and they adapted and deployed other means to get them the needed numbers to win elections.
Despite having the blessing of popular vote on their side, over the years opposition parties, alongside their civil society partners have instead been weakening instead of contributing to the weakening and demise of the ruling party.
The fall of Zanu PF cannot thus be attributed to opposition forces, but forces of nature, such as age, which have fostered the destructive succession politics within its ranks. Similarly, the failure of opposition to win elections is not for lack of popular vote, but lack of gut to claim power vested in them by the people.
It is justifiable for people to question the relevance and suitability of the current opposition forces, especially after having given them the popular vote for over a decade and half in vain.
This also explains the exhaustion that characterises those of my generation who have lost faith in the ruling party and the current opposition forces and have thus resorted to following any new social movement activist that comes on the scene.